This week is the HR Technology & Conference Expo in Chicago. It goes without saying, but I write the best guides to having fun and learning about technology at HR Tech. There are other guides out there, but they could be better. It’s just a fact.
Nobody brings you HR Tech coverage like me. Nobody.
I’ve been reading blog posts from my friends in the HR blogging and analyst community — and they are tremendous friends — but I’m disappointed.
I don’t know, but it seems to me we’re losing out there. Where’s the fun? Where’s the creativity? It’s like we don’t know how to win at HR Tech anymore.
Maybe there’s a great new guide out there. People tell me there are some great blog posts out there. I don’t know, I haven’t seen any, but I’d like to see it.
So in the absence of terrific blog posts about the HR Technology Conference & Expo, here’s my list of three things you need to know.
And this is going to be a post, I think, like no other. I’m not controlled by the vendor community. I’m not controlled by anybody.
1. HR makes HR great again.
I know human resources. Nobody knows HR better than me. And in these HR offices, it looks like a third-world country. You visit your regional offices, and they’re still using fax machines. The ceilings are crumbling. The phones don’t work.
Let’s be honest. HR products are purchased for three reasons: the product solves a problem for HR, the product solves a problem for finance, or the product solves a problem for the operations team.
So let’s take big data, which has been a total disaster. Instead of being smart, HR vendors have been dumb. They’ve been trying to sell HR buyers on big data for years, and they’re losing. Who needs big data? Nobody. Nobody needs big data. Companies need magic that happens behind the scenes — don’t give them too many details — so people can do their jobs better and go see their kids play soccer after work.
With my direction — and I’ve had tremendous success with this — my little consulting company has taught vendors to de-emphasize big data and change their sales and marketing language to be more human.
The technology companies that win at HR Tech? They just want to help HR make HR great again. And they know the secret: it’s not the feature that sells. It’s the experience of winning, powered by magic, that sells.
That’s what makes HR great again.
2. Artificial intelligence is everywhere.
Something is wrong, my friends. Look at all these great American companies. They’re losing, and they’re losing big. Manufacturing is going to China and Mexico. Companies are making bad deals. And nobody is focused on jobs.
HR Tech is full of AI, and it’s impacting all the jobs. AI is recommending candidates based on the context of the job and your company’s culture, not keywords. It’s making selection decisions based on multiple sources of information. And it’s deciding winners and losers in a whole host of areas from performance to diversity to compensation.
And there’s a lot at stake.
Someone behind the scenes — an engineer or developer who probably stole the job from an American, you tell me — is writing code and making implicit decisions for HR and recruiters. And you’re either okay with AI being the boss of you, or you’re not.
So even if nobody mentions AI at this year’s HR Technology Conference & Exposition — although they will — you should know about it. And you should ask yourself, and I think this is a huge question, “Will AI take my job?”
Because, and other people tell me this is true, HR people might lose their jobs to algorithms and robots.
I’m not all doom and gloom. I went to Wharton, and I did very well for myself, and I know that we have the cards. WE HAVE THE CARDS. Don’t you forget it. DON’T YOU FORGET IT. AI and robots can’t take our HR jobs if we stay one step ahead and add value in ways that are different than the robots.
3. “Thought-leaders” aren’t always thought-leaders.
I know HR better than anyone who has ever been at HR Tech. I am the only one who can tell you that thought-leaders aren’t thought-leaders. They are crooked entrepreneurs and innovators trying to sell the audience a product or service.
That’s right. Crooked. Not all of them. There are a few good thought-leaders and they’ve endorsed this blog post. But some of them are crooks. The system is rigged, people. Believe me, I know.
But the people in the audience? You people are really smart. You can’t be bought with swag, and you can’t be fooled by someone on stage with a fancy suit or a good blow-out.
There will be a massive turnout for some sessions, but anyone who tries to push too hard and call themselves a thought-leader is suspect. Remember, if they don’t name the sources that consider them thought-leaders, the sources don’t exist.
So those are my three things to know about HR Tech.
For the few people knocking me for writing this post, at least you know I’m awake and writing something original. Every on-line poll has me winning the coverage for HR Tech. That’s just a fact. Who’s better? Tim Sackett? Wrong. Kris Dunn? Wrong.
I do this hard work because you’re amazing. I’ve had tremendous success at building the blog readership, and I’ve sacrificed a lot to be successful. There is such great love in my audience. Such love, my friends, and nobody can deny it.
Listen, I know HR can be great again. That’s why I still write about the HR Technology & Conference Expo. And, most importantly, I hope you’ll attend my session about employee-centric HR on Thursday at 4PM.
See you soon!